MSA Sports Softball Playoff Recaps for Tuesday, May 20th

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 | 12:42 AM

For some, it was a turn around of less than 24 hours between the First Round and the Quarterfinals of the WPIAL Softball Playoffs. Rain last week forced a cinch in the belt and a much tighter schedule than usual. But Tuesday’s winners wont complain because they are Final Four bound and will actually have a days rest before the Semifinals on Thursday.

A special thanks to Jason Tennant, Chris Lackner, Greg Kuntz, Bob Gregg and Josh Rowntree for their help on these recaps.

WPIAL CLASS AAA Quarterfinals:

Greensburg-Salem Golden Lions 2 – West Allegheny Indians 1 
Both the Greensburg-Salem Lady Lions and the West Allegheny Indians had roughly 24 hours to enjoy their victories in the first round of the Class AAA Softball Playoffs and prepare for their Quarterfinal matchup.  Greensburg-Salem had eliminated the Central Valley Warriors, 1-0, in Round 1 on Monday while West A was coming off an 8-2 win over New Castle.  Both teams met at Baldwin to decide who would move on to the Semis at Baldwin High School on Tuesday, and each team threatened in the first 2 innings by putting runners in scoring position, but solid pitching by West A’s Maria Kirkpatrick and and GS’ Melissa Wagner, fresh off of her 10-K performance against CV, and solid defense by both teams, ended each threat.  However, West A cracked the scoreboard in the top of 3 as after one out, the Indians got three straight hits from the 2-4 hitters in the lineup, Taylor Hottenfeller, Brooke Wilson, Emily Garvin.  Garvin’s base hit drove in Hottenfeller to take a 1-0 lead.  For a while, at least through the next three innings, Kirkpatrick would make that lead stand up as she allowed only one baserunner in that stretch, but while the Indians had their chances to increase the lead, Wagner and her defense kept West A off the board by stranding 7 runners, 5 in scoring position.  At one point from innings 3 through 5, Wagner retired 7 straight and 11 of 13.  While the Indians had the top-seeded and defending Class AAA Champions on the ropes, the real turning point of the game transpired as Claire Oberdorf fouled a pitch off on the 1st-base side of the field, but Brooke Bagnell, who was in position to catch the ball and record the out, the ball dropped out of her glove, allowing Oberdorf to dontinue the at-bat.  A number of pitches later, Oberdorf drove a base-hit to left field which got by Hottenfeller.  That put Oberdorf on 2nd, and she would score on Karly Mellinger’s RBI single, tying the game at 1.  After a 1-2-3 top of the 7th for West A, the Lady Lions got another chance to win.  Despite getting the first two hitters, Kirkpatrick gave up a base hit to Madison Hantz, who was lifted for a pinch-runner, Alyssa Milligan.  The next batter, Lauren McLaughlin. drove a base hit to right-center field which went all the way to the wall.  Milligan, showing great speed, scored all the way from 1st with the winning run.  Greensburg- Salem eliminated the West Allegheny Indians 2-1 to advance to the semifinals in the next step of their title defense.  GS goes into the next round with a 15-1 mark while West A’s season ends at 11-6.

Thomas Jefferson Jaguars 3 – Trinity Hillers 1 
Lacie Lautner held Trinity to four singles, struck out 10 batters and Thomas Jefferson used two-out doubles to drive in a pair of runs on the way to a 3-1 win for the Jaguars.  TJ advances to the WPIAL semifinals against top-seeded Greensburg Salem.  Trinity’s season ends at 16-3. Lautner seem to be faster than the Trinity hitters all night long, keeping the Hillers from pulling very many balls and staying away from any potential big innings.  The righthander didn’t allow a hit until the fifth and lost the shutout on an infield error in the seventh that should have ended the game. In the Jaguars’ first inning, Lauren Herazo doubled to the fence in rightcenter with two out, scoring Kyla Prickett from second.  Two innings later, a two-out double off the centerfield fence by Emily Scheidter drove in Janelle Allison from first, putting Thomas Jefferson up 2-0.  The Jaguars (13-6) put the final marker on the board in the fourth.  Megan Fitzgerald walked, was sacrificed to second, to third on Becca Bachman’s single and scored on a basehit by Rachael Bowers. Madi Hornak’s bunt single opened the seventh for Trinity.  One out later, she moved to second on a groundout.  Emily Smith’s grounder up the middle was mishandled, then thrown away, allowing Hornak to score and bringing the tying run to the plate.  Olivia Gray singled sharply to left but a strikeout ended the game. Herazo doubled twice, Scheidter also had a single for Thomas Jefferson, who saw eight of the 9 batters reach safely with either a hit or a walk.  Lautner, who did not allow an earned run, walked three and hit a batter, while striking out 10, two in each of the last two innings.  Seven different Trinity batters fanned against the TJ hurler. Trinity got leadoff batters aboard in four of the last five innings but lacked for clutch hits, going 2-for-13 with runners on base.  And one of those hits, a single to right by Smith, led to an out.  Rightfielder Tara Conley charged the ball and threw perfectly to the plate, cutting down Jasmine Fuqua trying to score from second in the third.  Gray followed with a drive over Conley but she turned her back to the infield and made an over-the-shoulder grab to end the threat. Katelyn Campbell started, but lasted on 2/3 of an inning, allowing the first run on three hits.  Paige Gallentine worked the final 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, walking three and striking out five.

Elizabeth Forward Warriors 5 – South Fayette Lions 0 
Elizabeth Forward (14-6) scored all five of their runs in the seventh inning, running away with a 5-0 win over No. 2 South Fayette (14-2) in a WPIAL AAA Quarterfinal showdown at Baldwin High School on Tuesday afternoon. With the win, the seventh-seeded Warriors advance to the WPIAL AAA Semifinals, where they will meet No. 11 Mars on Thursday at a site and time to be determined. Elizabeth Forward was led by Freshman Pitcher Lauren Mathews. Mathews, who replaced injured starter Sarah Turek early in the season, scattered five hits in a complete game shutout. But Mathews, who did not strike out a batter and walked only two, was helped out in a major way by her defense, which made a number of terrific plays in the field. Another Warriors Freshman, Catcher Jessica Cartia, got the rally started in the seventh with a leadoff infield single. After singles by Lexi Ribarchak and Ashley Baker, Kelsey Benedek would step to the plate. Benedek, who was pinch hit for in the previous inning, only to be substituted back in during the same at bat, would beat out a throw on another infield single, scoring Cartia’s courtesy runner Jessica Guffey, giving the Warriors a 1-0 lead. Courtney Hrabosky would then open up the flood gates with a two-RBI double, extending the Elizabeth Forward lead to 3-0. Jen Keefer would bring home Benedek during the next at bat on an infield single and Caitlyn Arico would cap the scoring with a sacrifice fly that scored Hrabosky. Ashley Iagnemma, one of the top pitchers in the WPIAL, would allow seven of her ten hits in the final inning. The Junior, one of only two upperclassmen on the Lions, struck out six batters and walked none. South Fayette received a pair of hits from Freshman Sara Jubas and Sophomore Courtney Blocher. The Lions will return all but one player, Taylor Coyne, for the 2015 season. The victory sends Elizabeth Forward to the WPIAL AAA Semifinals for the second time in three years.

Mars Fighting Planets 1 – West Mifflin Titans 0 
The Planets are Fightin’ and may just be aligning at the right time. No. 11 Mars (11-4) and Sophomore Pitcher Niki Schlegel shutdown No. 3 West Mifflin (17-3), stunning the Titans 1-0 in a AAA Quarterfinal contest at Baldwin High School on Tuesday afternoon. Schlegel pitched a complete game, four-hit shutout, striking out three batters and walking none. Oddly enough, the sensational pitching performance may not have even been the best in the game. West Mifflin ace Paige Flore, who entered as the winningest pitcher in the WPIAL this season, only allowed two hits in six innings of work, while striking out seven batters and walking three. Her lone run allowed was unearned and came in the third inning. After Mallory Eperesi led off with a walk, Shelby Huber would drive a ball at Titans Third Baseman Kacey Larson. Larson’s throw to first would be low, skipping past First Baseman Crystal Cook. The error allowed Eperesi to advance to third. The following batter, Senior Jeanna Sybert would ground out, bringing home Eperesi from third. Schlegel and her defense would take over after that, with the play of the game coming in the sixth inning. After a pair of one-out singles by Chelsea Hess and Alyssa Carins put runners at first and second, Schlegel would get Amber Cook to line out. Crystal Cook then stepped in and rifled a ball to right center field. But Erin Hershman, a Robert Morris recruit, would make a spectacular running catch for the third out of the inning, preserving the 1-0 lead. Carins picked up three of West Mifflin’s four hits, including a double. She finished the 2014 WPIAL Playoffs hitting 6 of 7 at the plate, but her efforts were not enough, as the bottom six in the order after her finished 0 for 16 in the game. Suzanne Papik and Blake Kitt picked up the only hits for the Fightin’ Planets, who advance to the WPIAL AAA Semifinals for the first time since 2007. They will meet No. 7 Elizabeth Forward on Thursday at a site and time to be determined.

WPIAL CLASS A Quarterfinals:

Neshannock Lancers 7 – Vincentian Academy Royals 0 
The WPIAL Class A Softball Quarterfinals took place Tuesday at South Side Beaver High School. A double header of games showcased 4 of Class A’s finest teams this season. In Game 1, the Vincentian Academy Royals took on the Neshannock Lancers. Both teams displaying explosive offenses and shutdown pitching throughout the regular season. Neshannock and head coach Tracey Kimmel hoped that the success they had during the regular season would transfer over into the playoffs for the Lancers in their 2014 playoff debut. The Lancers bats roared in the opening frame. Hits in the 1st by Marissa Dematteo, Cassie Burrelli, Madison Altmyer, Missy Kirkwood & a big triple by Kaela Zingaro allowed Neshannock to jump out to a 5-0 early lead.  However, this day belonged to Neshannock junior pitcher Madison Shaffer. Dominant in 7 innings of work, Shaffer tossed a perfect game at South Side Beaver High School. She filled up the stat sheet striking out 10 Vincentian Academy Royals. Shaffer tallied at least 1 strikeout in every inning including striking out the side in order in the 4th inning. Madison was so focused on pitching during the game that Coach Kimmel told our broadcast crew that she hadn’t even known of her accomplishment until the team huddled together after the final out. Vincentian Academy’s great season ends with an overall record of 11-4. Neshannock moves on to face the Burgettstown Blue Devils in the semifinals as the Class A tournament rolls along.

Burgettstown Blue Devils 8 – Shenango Wildcats 2
The WPIAL Class A Softball Quarterfinals took place Tuesday at South Side High School. A double header of games showcased 4 of Class A’s finest teams this season. Game 2 featured Section 1 champion Burgettstown Blue Devils against the runner up in Section 4 Shenango Wildcats. It didn’t take long for the scoring to get under way. 2 runs on a Caley Ritts single and a Sami Scopel sacrifice fly netted the Blue Devils the early lead. The score remained 2-0 until the 5th inning. That’s when Burgettstown decided to open up the flood gates. 5 runs on 6 hits burst the game wide open for the Blue Devils. Shenango’s rebuttal in the bottom half of the 5th was their only runs of the ball game. 2 runs on hits by Alyssa White, Hana Murphy, and Jacqui Baker allowed the Wildcats to get on the board. Burgettstown tacked on another run in the 6th to make it an 8-2 game. Pitcher Kate Tarr had more than enough insurance though for Burgettstown has she was able to hold off the Shenango Wildcats and secure the victory for her Blue Devils with the final score of 8-2. Shenango’s season ends at 14-4 overall. The Burgettstown Blue Devils well oiled machine moves on to face the Neshannock Lancers in a marquee Class A semifinal.

South Side Rams 10 – Carmichaels Mighty Mikes 3 
South Side waited until the fourth inning to get the offense going, but once they did, the Rams completely took over, advancing to the Semifinals with a 10-3 win over Carmichaels.  The Mikes seemed to be in control of the game through three and a half innings.  The Mikes scored a run in the top of the first when Erica Burns led off with a single and eventually scored on an error.  They left the bases loaded in the second, but not before they scored another when Burns drove in Natalie McNett.  Burns, also the Mikes’ starting pitcher, had kept the Rams in check too, allowing only 2 base runners through three innings.  Then came the bottom of the fourth.  The Rams started the inning with three straight singles by Sarah Androlia, Connor McGaffic, and McKenna Smith.  Toni Yacoviello stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and nobody out and sent a grand slam to straightaway centerfield.  Just like that, the Rams went from down 2 runs to ahead by 2 with one swing of the bat.  The Rams weren’t done either, Cheyenne Seik and Androlia led off the fifth with back-to-back doubles (though Seik’s was erroneously ruled an error, officially).  Androlia would score on a wild pitch and the Rams led, 6-2.  For good measure, McGaffic added a 3-run homerun in the bottom of the sixth, and Smith doubled and scored a tenth run for the Rams.  After the grand slam in the fourth, Carmichaels never recovered.  They went down in order the next two innings and trailing by 8 entering the top of the seventh, the Mikes made two outs on the bases with the game ending on a play at third base.  Smith got the win, striking out 6 and Burns took the loss, also striking out six.  The Rams will play Jefferson-Morgan in the Semifinals.

Jefferson-Morgan Rockets 9 – Bishop Canevin Crusaders 1
The Jefferson-Morgan Rockets jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as they advanced to the Semifinals with a 9-1 win over Bishop Canevin.  Just 3 batters into the game, the Rockets had a 3-0 lead.  Reagan Rush led off with a double and scored from second on a bunt single from Kirsten Stoneking then Morgan Simkovic drove one over the left field fence for a 2-run homerun.  The Rockets scored once more in the first on a bases loaded walk to Autumn Tedrow.  The Crusaders did cut into the lead in the bottom of the second when Kylee Sonson, who walked, moved to third on a Rianna Conway double, and then scored on a ground ball hit by Amy Calabrese.  That was the only run allowed by Rocket starter Maddie Ludrosky, who struck out one in the first and then recorded exactly two strikeouts in every inning the rest of the way.  The Rockets started adding on in the fourth with 2 runs on 3 singles by Stoneking, Ludrosky, and Camryn Dugan.  They then scored 2 more on another three singles by Rush, Simkovic, and Ludrosky in the fifth .  Four straight one-out singles by the top 4 in the Rocket batting order in the seventh put the final Rocket run on the board as they cruised to the 9-1 win.  Ludrosky, who went 5-for-5 with five singles at the plate, got the win, allowing only 5 hits and striking out a total of 13.  The Rockets offensively had Rush going 4-for-5 and both Stoneking and Simkovic recording three hits each.  Sonson took the loss for the Crusaders, allowing 19 hits, striking out 5 and walking 3.  Jefferson-Morgan will face South Side in the semifinals.

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